And its attendance is certainly not its only record:
- it may be the country's train station with the highest generated revenue;
- it hosts 14 platforms including the busiest one in the world (the Tokaido Shinkansen);
- its facade spreads up 300 meters long and its total area is equivalent to 3,6 times Tokyo Dome's surface.
Just like the 416,000 passengers commuting from or to Tokyo Station every day in 2013 (yet less than Shinjuku Station), it is rare when travelers in Japan do not cross at least once this major transportation hub.
Architecture and renovation
Built between Meiji and Taisho eras, Tokyo Station is above all an European-style architectural legend (designed by Kingo Tatsuno) which mobilized 740,000 workers and more than eight millions of its famous red bricks. On its opening day in 1914 under the name of "Central Station", after six years of construction, only four lines made it up and 4,600 passengers crossed it everyday.
Symbolic building with its typical facade, its inside dome and ornaments were damaged twice: during Kanto Great Earthquake in 1923 and mostly by the Second World War bombings. It also witnessed two murders of Japanese Prime Ministers during its history.
Despite its renovation in 1947 with the loss of one floor, it is a real restoration, decided in early 21st century, which allowed it to regain its former glow. Renovation on Marunouchi side as well as the earthquake-resistant standard, completed in October 2012 after five years of works, will have cost a total of 75 billions of Yen (~US$ 666,459,323.80). On the opposite side, Yaesu "on the South" also knows a rehabilitation, with different buildings and passages under construction, surrounding huge glass canopies.
In early September 2015, Mitsubishi Estate announced the construction of the tallest building in Japan, 390 meters high (that is 90 more than Abeno Harukas in Osaka) with 66 floors. However, it should not be achieved until 2027.
Underground, six nearby stations are accessible through a huge maze of underground passages, including one longer than two kilometers. A project of grouping buses lines, connected to these several galleries, is also under construction in order to better reach them.
Much more than a station
This labyrinth under the surface is also the scene of diverse shopping galleries with various themes, constituting the complex called "Tokyo Station City". Among these numerous, never-ending stores, two areas particularly fascinate passing tourists:
- "Tokyo Character Street", an alley dedicated to pop culture amateurs, with official stores like Pokémon Store, Hello Kitty Shop, Lego, Ultraman, Snoopy, NHK/Nippon Terebi and a Donguri Ghibli shop…
- "Tokyo Ramen street" obviously dedicated to Japanese cuisine with many restaurants, takeaway food stalls and even a store with lot of seasonal Kit Kat.
The whole surface also includes an Art gallery (since 1988), diverse services, a vast zone of coin lockers and "The Tokyo Station Hotel", a luxury establishment which celebrated its centenary in 2015, with night prices starting from 40,000¥ (~US$ 355.40), room only.
At night, illuminations adorn the main station’s esplanade, where an endless taxis’ ballet makes passengers on the departure or freshly arrived commute.
To celebrate its centenary, a number of festivities have been set up around New Year 2015, with special and limited editions of various products (including a Suica card which made a splash) or a Yamanote line train fully decorated with its colors.
The station also realized an animated short film entitled The passage of time, which can be viewed here:
For the record: there is a (smaller) replica of Tokyo Station in Fuyaka, Saitama prefecture. If this one goes back initially to 1883, the current version dates back to 1996 only. To get there, the direct train from Tokyo takes about one hour and a half.
How to get to Tokyo Station
Located on countless train lines:
- 6 JR Shinkansen lines
- 7 train lines (including Yamanote et Narita Express lines)
- 1 Tokyo Metro line
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 263)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
東京駅 (Tokyo eki)